Through the Eyes of a Poet series #4
Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Sylvia Clare
Objective: To encourage people to broaden their reading interests through poetry, support the poetry community, and introduce you to poets and their personal stories.
For updates on this series: Join this Author Newsletter.
Canvas vast to match the impossible scalefrom Seascapes, by Sylvia Clare
a universe of sky, land and sea.
Great scoops and swathes of marbled grey,
White and bright the moon shines through
between clouds, in tempest thrown,
nature’s wildest dance performed
in skies and seas, flecked with foam.
When Sylvia first began expressing that she wanted to be a writer, she was laughed at. No one took her seriously because her mind worked differently due to ADHD. Sylvia, I get it. Really I do. (Squirrel brains unite!)
But here she is, 3 books later (The Musicians Muse, Black and white, and Love and Chocolate); a lovely poet with a big message.
Sylvia is from the UK, has lived in south London, and now resides on a small island off the south coast, called the Isle of Wight. She’s been writing since she was a young student but kept most of it to herself until about 25 years ago when she became more serious about pursuing her writing professionally.
I can understand keeping a thing such as poetry to yourself, when the world gives you negative feedback or doesn’t believe in your abilities. Writing poetry is very personal. I admire Sylvia for tapping into that creative energy and refusing to let it go. Because of her tenacity, we now have her beautiful (and sometimes fierce) body of work to enjoy.
I invited Sylvia to join me in a brief interview about her writing style, her poetry, and her vision. Please enjoy this brief interview and be sure to check out Sylvia’s contact information at the bottom to follow her work. Let’s show her the support that her work deserves and let her know that she is definitely a poet of worth!
Tell me a bit about the vision behind your poems.
I write what I observe, how I feel and my experiences – especially spiritually and about nature. I am also an angry poet about our modern times and I rant sometimes against people with negative attitudes to the climate crisis or social injustices.
Tell me about how you came to be a poet.
I used to work with and socialise with someone who wanted to be a poet. He was pretentious but also introduced me to Benjamin Zephania. I was also teaching with Jean Binta Breeze at the time at Brixton college.
I was drawn to it in deeper ways; it called me, I think, rather than I went after poetry itself. I had talked about being a writer at school and been so laughed at by teachers and friends alike, that I never thought it could be possible. But I felt intuitively that this was something I should work towards, however long it took to develop my voice and my style. I have always found my intuitive drives will override any negative comments from others. I think because of my ADHD no one ever took me seriously.
I do see and feel deeply–and I think that is the heart of poetry. If you don’t feel it how can it ever be authentic? The words come through me or to me but are never from me. I feel them as a gift, always. though I have learned how to edit and redraft a little more than in early days.
I have learned a few more rules too. I like writing to rules–the limitations make it easier– but I still can’t force anything if it isn’t flowing of its own accord. Fortunately, it usually is once a theme or thought arrives it flows from that point. I also find prompts useful.
Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.
One of my favourites is about my husband and how much he changed my life – gave me a life. Although it is impossible to have a real favourite ( I also love my chocolate poems series) I guess this is the one.
Lost and Found (published in P.S. I Love You, a Medium publication)
We discovered each other
in lost and found.
You were a treasure chest
washed up on the beach
when my toe stubbed against you.
Tentatively opening your lid,
I discovered many secrets –
many compartments concealed
from unappreciative eyes and minds
jewels dulled by non-use,
wrapped in oilcloth, fusty with age
I was broken on that beach
discards from other people’s debris.
You carefully collected all my fragments
painstakingly re-assembled them
into a collage of unexpected beauty
Many years later I find still
there are secret compartments
located in the depths of your being.
We carefully light candles
for each other, to find
hands to hold in the dark.
What is your greatest hope with regards to your poetry?
That my words reach people and mean something to them as so many other writers have done to me. That I help to make poetry something that anyone can enjoy and not keep it exclusive and excluding. I can use any number of clever words but I prefer not to unless there is nothing else to use. What I hope more than anything is that they may influence a few heart and minds.
Does your poetry have a message or a theme that you want to portray to the world?
Yes definitely. The main overall themes are about:
- spiritual experiences and insights
- the environment, nature
- politics of social justice
- observations on human experience and relationships
I desperately want to influence people to become more loving and compassionate to each other, to see more deeply and be less judgemental. I want to help people to understand the beauty in the world; if they look at it properly and stop the destruction. Apart from my family, this is all I want to do in life- my raison d’etre, for sure.
How do your poems come to you? And how do you take them from the initial inspiration to the final poem? Tell me about your writing process.
I meditate a lot and have done so for several decades; teaching it as well as living it. So much comes to me from that or after that .
I am less a conscious creator rather than a ‘flow’ creator; a channeler, a conduit for ideas to come through. I typically write, leave for 24 to 48 hours, and then revisit. If I cannot think of any better words or structures then I submit, mostly on Medium, but I am starting to leave some to submit elsewhere.
One last question, what would you say to readers who do not normally read poetry to encourage them to read the genre?
Poems can often sum up an experience or thought that cannot be expressed as well in any other prose form. It can open the world to you in inspiring ways.
One of my favourite ways of beginning the day is to read some poems out loud to my husband, with a cup of tea in bed before we get up and start chores. It places a completely different light on much of the whole day from there. Sometimes it is the poetry in songs that reaches us first.
I never forget the film Dangerous Minds when the young people are introduced to poetry through Dylan’s lyrics. Find a poetic form that is accessible to you, that speaks to you, and then work out from there.
Thank you Sylvia for sharing a bit of your journey with us and sharing with us about your poetry. I am glad you pushed back against the world and took up your pen to do what it is the poetry calls you to do. I, too, consider myself a catalyst for poems and I understand completely this part of your process. I think that makes the poetry even more special.
If you would like to follow Sylvia’s journey, read her work, and become a fan, you can find her on the following platforms:
Sylvia on Medium
(Also find her work in medium publications: PSILY, Literally Literary, Other Doors, Creative Café, Resistance Poetry)
For News and Updates
Sylvia on Amazon
Sylvia on Goodreads
Thank you for reading about this featured poet. I invite you to include poetry in your reading and give this genre a chance to enrich your life. I will be featuring poets on my blog (Author Website), in my newsletter (Author Newsletter), and on my Medium platform (Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry). I welcome you to read about these poets, support them, and perhaps find a poet that brings something very meaningful to your life.